Dude, how can I possibly follow Ms. LOLRegencies down there?!?
Okay. So you’ve been warned. I am likely to be INCREDIBLY DULL today. Especially in comparison to the brilliance of the Mullany.
Like many of us Riskies, I am writing a Regency-set historical, only I realized a couple of books ago that writing about Almack’s, and the Season, and the traditional Society wasn’t my strong suit, so I took my characters out of London (Right now my h/h are in a small inn in November. And she has no cloak. Sensible, she’s not).
But what about leaving the country entirely? Apparently, it’s becoming more of a ‘thing’ in Regency-sets. According to Leah Hultenschmidt, an editor at Dorchester:
One of our sales reps commented recently that a buyer for one of the major chains told her historicals set in France and Italy seem to be doing well. Given that last week our foreign rights agent mentioned some international publishers were inquiring about French Revolution-set stories, it made me wonder: a Joanna Bourne and/or Loretta Chase effect perhaps? It always amazes me how it really only takes one successful book to create a “glom effect” and the next trend is born (or Bourne).
Now the trick here is not–I repeat, not–to start writing a French Revolution romance now just because you hear they’re selling.
Okay, back to Megan:
My good friend Carolyn Jewel is writing a Regency-set that takes place in Syria. Think about it: Syria in the early nineteenth century. How different from Almack’s will that be! While I am not taking my characters out of the country just yet, I am wondering what authors and readers think about this new trend (albeit a trend of two).
Do you like having your Regency folk in other lands? Do you love it best when they’re in London for the Season dancing at balls and drinking orgeat? What settings intrigue you most? Have you read either of the two books mentioned above?
I personally like it all. I like the seasons in London, hanging out in Bath, country house parties, and small country villages. However, I would love to see more books set say at the Congress of Vienna or in Paris after the war, or even in Syria. After all Lady Hester Stanhope was quite the traveler, as were Byron and company. I just want more diversity as long as it is well written. Oh, and more books in Scotland and Ireland.
I love reading Loretta Chase and Ammanda McCabe precisely because they’re able to seamlessly take you out of London to parts unknown and give you not only a great story but an education, too.
Carolyn Jewel’s Syria? I’m all for it!!!!!!!!
Megan, love that Syrian line-art. Where did you find it?
I’m glad to see the market wheel turning this way! Like Elizabeth, I like the variety too.
When I was pitching the book that became An Improper Aristocrat–out in December! :-)–every editor and agent I talked with asked in alarm, “The whole thing is not set in Egypt, is it?” So I’m glad to hear that editorial minds might be opening up!
I love the idea of early ninteenth century Syria! But then, I’m right there eagerly awaiting all of Carolyn’s books.
Admittedly, I do prefer it when it is in England, but it hasn’t stopped me from picking one up when it has been Regency some place else. 🙂
I’m all for more diverse settings! My particular favorite, surprise surprise, is the Peninsular War. I’d love to see 18th or early 19th century India. Actually, I’d love to write it myself, but I’m waiting for the right idea. America could be fun, with or without the War of 1812 to pull British characters in. I have a vague plot bunny for the Battle of New Orleans that I’m letting stew on the back burners of my imagination to see if it turns into anything.
And, staying a little closer to Regency home, you could do some interesting things with Ireland…
I’ve always had a slight preference for Regencies set in the British Isles, but I’ve always been open to other books too, particularly if written by an author I like. The first I ever read, I think, was Joan Smith’s THE BLUE DIAMOND, which has a German heroine and takes place at the Congress of Vienna. And Jane Aiken Hodge’s Regencies often took place all over Europe, or in America…
So it’s certainly not a new thing — and I’m glad the publishers are loosening up again in what they’re comfortable with!
If stories are all set in London, after all, they can end up seeming rather too much alike — especially if folks think there’s an unwritten rule that Almack’s has to appear in the story… 😉
I like all Regencies that are set somewhere in England- city or country doesn’t matter. But I don’t know how much I’d like one set so far out of England that all the background- the culture etc- was changed. I love the period and that is why all my romance reading is Regency.
Megan, my guess is that most readers will still prefer UK settings. I think most of us love to go back to a familiar place and to see it through the eyes of a new story. I know that when I first started reading Regencies, I loved knowing what Almack’s was, White’s, Mayfair.
But I also think there’s room for other settings. I don’t think there’s any sign readers want to abandon the Regency, but maybe they sometimes enjoy seeing it in an entirely new way.
And, by coincidence, Keira and I were just talking about India as a setting.
Here’s a question. Would you like to see Regency character come to the US?
It’s not a surprise I love unusual settings! (Can’t wait for Carolyn’s book) Readers do seem to like the familiar/tried and true of Hyde Park and balls and swirly dresses, but I hope there is a market for the unusual and the adventurous as well! (I’m hoping to do some French stuff in the future)
Keira, I image-googled ‘nineteenth century Syria,’ and that was on of the pics that came up.
It’s cool to hear from you guys about the variety of settings–and I would definitely be interested in a Regency hero or heroine going to America, or India, or wherever. I like the diversity, although like all of you, I still love London and the traditional British settings.
Diane asked: Would you like to see Regency character come to the US?
I must admit that’s not my favorite setting, though I have read Regencies set or partly set in the US (Zabrina Faire’s PRETTY KITTY, Jane Aiken Hodge’s HERE COMES A CANDLE, etc.)
The problem is the war, though! I like to root for the hero & heroine, but if one of them is British and comes to the US during the Regency, the War of 1812 is either going to be going on, or a recent event. And I really don’t want to hear reasons why the British thought it was okay to impress Americans into their navy… 😉
So that’s basically it. The two countries were not friends during the Regency, and I hate having mixed loyalties in such a way…
The two countries were not friends during the Regency, and I hate having mixed loyalties in such a way…
Interesting topic, because I think the English behaved in atypical ways (i.e., badly) when out of their familiar milieu. I’d love to write something set in Italy, where Byron, Shelley et al were misbehaving.
I’m also fascinated by Turkey as a setting altho the erotic historical proposal I had set there was roundly rejected.
Cara, I’m actually intrigued by the enemy aspect of the War of 1812, etc. But maybe I just like to be divisive in my fiction, at least.
Like Megan, I’m intrigued by the enemy aspect of the War of 1812. And, for that matter, I have a few chapters of a manuscript with a French hero and English heroine in 1813, and maybe one of these days I’ll get back to it. In my alternative history there IS no War of 1812, Britain and America instead being forced into an uneasy and grudging alliance a few years earlier. My English protagonist’s love interest is going to be an American woman (unless I change my mind–that’s still two books away), and a lot of their conflict is in the fact that they, like their nations, have an uneasy alliance at first.
To me one of the most appealing aspects of the Regency era is it has scope for so many kinds of stories–from frothy high society to quiet country romance to grand adventure. I like to read it all, but as a writer my heart is with the adventure.
Echoing Elizabeth, I like it all.
One caveat, though, I think the London Season story has been done so much that inevitably not all the stories are of a high standard.
I almost always love Regency era stories in other settings because they are generally very well written with memorable characters. Perhaps with a risky setting the writing has to be better to make the editorial cut?
My own stories tend to go outside of London but not outside the country. Yet. 🙂
At the moment, I prefer London-based, Almack’s-set Regencies if they veer more towards a romantic “comedy of manners” (or errors) rather than straight historical romance (with the exception of Liz Carlyle, who explores the darker side of Regency London). For some reason, when straight historical romance feels stifling and claustrophobic when the h/h traipse through Almack’s, Gunter’s, Hyde Park, etc because the settings just feel like background scenery rather than opportunities for witty banter and the like (can you tell I miss trads? lol).
As for diverse settings, I hope it soon segues into buyers and editors losing their fear of anything not set in 19th C Britain (or with just British characters) b/c Gilded Age NY is my new obsession.
On the subject of a Regency character in the US, I just finished a story ( forgot the author already! yikes) called The English Bride featuring a Lady in New York whose relationship with the American hero starts out antagonistic as he publicly scorns her for being Britsh (having lost $$ from his shipping business during the war). It was an interesting prespective and not a bad book considering how brutal he was in the beginning and how believable their happy ending was. That said, those unique settings are interesting now and then but give me a good houseparty, Almacks, and Hyde Park (at the fashionable hour, mind you) any day.
I like England-set Regency novels very much, but I also like other settings. I’d definitely be open for novels set in other places. After all, why make the field unnecessarily narrow? Even if most Regency books are in London, there is room for other locales from time to time.
The Patrick O’Brien seafaring novels occasionally ventured quite far afield. And a nonfiction book I read a few years ago–The World in 1800 by Olivier Bernier–had chapters on different parts of the world. France, England, other parts of Europe, the US, Mexico, Africa, China and India, as I recall off the top of my head. He doesn’t do equal justice to them all, but it did suggest a much broader range of settings than those that are commonly used.
Right now I am reading a fascinating biography of Lady Hester Stanhope, role model for independent-minded Regency heroines. It’s called Star of the Morning by Kirsten Ellis and one of its settings is 19th century Syria. I usually prefer English settings for my Regency reading, but after this book, I’d love to see one incorporating this.
Look at all you open-minded folk out there! Yay! And I am so intrigued by the American hero/British heroine book, Cheryl Lynn.
Todd, I have to admit to never being able to get through Patrick O’B.